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CNN INSIDE POLITICS

Counterterrorism Expert Unconvinced Abu Nidal is Dead; Iraqi Officials Call Bush "Idiot"; Former Enron Exec to Plead Guilty

Aired August 20, 2002 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. What is the real story behind the death of a feared terrorist? And what does it mean to the war against terror?
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm John King in Crawford, Texas. I will tell if you the Bush administration is responding to more taunts from the government of Iraq.

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Brian Cabell in Atlanta, where today's showdown between Congressman Bob Barr and John Linder is bitter to the end.

WOODRUFF: Also ahead, CEOs under arrest and in handcuffs. Is it fair for the Feds to parade them before the cameras?

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. We are waiting right now for a news conference that we are told will get under way any moment now, Riverside California, police talking to reporters about the disappearance of yet another young girl.

This a 10-year-old girl reported missing from her home this morning in Riverside. Nichole Timmons reported just after 7:00 a.m. this morning, when her mother did not find her in her room. We expect the Riverside police chief to talk with reporters and as soon as that news conference gets under way, we will take there.

In the meantime, we begin with Iraq with new headlines and new flash point, as the Bush Administration continues to weigh a possible strike against Baghdad. German commandos storm the Iraqi embassy in Berlin, just about two hours ago, ending a hostage siege there without any major injuries. Iraq had given the go-ahead to move against the hostage takers who said they are members of an Iraqi opposition group seeking the ouster of Saddam Hussein.

In Iraq today meantime, Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz says international terrorist leader Abu Nidal committed suicide. Another senior Iraqi official tells CNN that Abu Nidal killed himself after Iraq accused him of conspiring with forces outside the country against the Baghdad government. Abu Nidal was found dead in a Baghdad apartment over the weekend.

That same official said today that it would be foolish for Saddam Hussein to let U.N. weapons inspectors, inspections resume because he says the teams would contain spies, that would help the U.S. in a military conflict with Iraq. And ratcheting up the war of words, the official called President Bush a, quote, "idiot who is in the hand of Zionists." Meantime, U.S. officials confirm that the Bush administration recent weeks considered a covert CIA and military mission inside northern Iraq.

And for now, we want it go to CNN's White House correspondent John King who is in Crawford, Texas covering President Bush. John, there is a lot for the White House to digest. What are they saying?

KING: Well, first and more most, Judy, let's start with that hostage crisis, the Iraqi opposition group, an obscure group briefly taking over the Iraqi embassy in Berlin. This is a Bush Administration that is public in saying the government of Saddam Hussein must go, regime change...

(INTERRUPTED FOR LIVE EVENT)

WOODRUFF: We have been listening to Mike Smith who is with the Riverside, California police describing what information they have at this point about 10-year-old Nichole Taylor Timmons who was found missing from her bedroom this morning by her mother.

According Assistant Police Chief Smith, they are looking for a man named Glen McArthur Park, who was at least on one occasion serving as a baby-sitter for Nichole Timmons and he went on to say that they have information that the two are together traveling in central California and may be headed out of the state. And he said, we are seeking public assistance, looking for them.

Again, we think they are traveling through the state, perhaps heading out of state. This is a photograph of the man he identified as Glen McArthur Park and we are sharing that to you moments after the police there in Riverside, California sharing that photo with the reporters. So more information as we get it, we will share it with you.

Another story we want to tell you about, breaking news out of Moscow and that is that there's been an explosion in a apartment block in the northeastern part of Moscow. These are some pictures that have just come in to us in the last few minutes, an explosion destroying part of this apartment block. One report we've seen indicate the explosion was centered on the third floor of a five story building and there have been casualties according to the Itar-Tass (ph) news agency. Very sketchy information at this point. This is about all the information that we have and as we get more we will tell you about that as well.

Well, back now to our lead story today on INSIDE POLITICS and that is the word from Baghdad, from Iraq, that Iraqi officials, at least one senior official, telling CNN vice president Ethan Jordan (ph) that the Iraqis will not let U.N. and weapons inspectors back in the country and using very strong language in describing President Bush.

Let's quickly go to Crawford, Texas where our senior White House correspondent John King has been talking to the Texas White House, getting some reaction from them John, to these fast breaking stories out of Iraq today.

KING: And Judy, no official reaction to the tough language, the insulting language, if you will, by the senior Iraqi official calling President Bush an idiot, saying he was in the hands of the Zionists.

White House officials say they will not dignify that with official response. One senior official noting, though, that the president might think that he is in quote good company because very similar language was used by the Iraqi government to describe his father, President Bush, back in the late 1980s, early 1990s, when he was leading the U.S. military and the coalition army forces against the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

On the question of inspections, White House officials have said for months and they reiterate today they have never believed that Saddam Hussein was serious about letting U.N. inspectors back in with unfettered access so no surprise at all that a senior official would say that it is the view of the Iraqi government that there will be no weapons inspections.

We also were talking at the top of the show about that storming of the embassy in Germany, Berlin, Germany. The Iraqi embassy stormed by an obscure group called the Democratic Iraqi Opposition of Germany. Now this is a Bush administration that is public in saying Saddam Hussein should be removed from power, but it is an administration that quickly went public today to condemn such a tactic, taking over another government's embassy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY: Actions like this takeover are unacceptable. They undermine legitimate efforts by Iraqis both inside and outside Iraq to bring regime change to Iraq. As for the particular group involved, we have no prior knowledge of this group and have had no contacts with them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: White House officials saying one reason they wanted to condemn this so quickly is because they do not want to encourage similar protests on U.S. embassies around the world. White House officials saying they believe Iraqi opposition groups should work with peaceful demonstrations around the world, with whatever means they want to work with inside Iraq, but again, not with forcefully taking over another government's embassies in another capital -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King, one of the few times we are likely to hear the Bush administration defending the rights of the Iraqi government. Thanks very much, John.

Well, while Iraq appears to be closing, appears we should say, to be closing the door on renewed U.N. weapons inspections, the senior Iraqi official who spoke with CNN today said that Baghdad still would allow members of the U.S. Congress to briefly visit suspected weapon sites. The White House previously has rejected that invitation but our congressional correspondent Kate Snow now has some fresh reaction from Capitol Hill. Hi, Kate.

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy. Ludicrous on its face. That's how one Republican aide put it, saying that a U.S. congressional delegation going into Iraq was simply a nonstarter.

Democrats and Republicans alike telling me this is not a job for the U.S. Congress. This is a job for the United Nations. And secondly, it is up to Saddam Hussein, they will tell you to make changes. He is the one who has to act in good faith at this point. It's not up to the U.S. Congress.

Several aides calling this a diversionary tactic by the Iraqis. One Republican saying, what are they going to find out if they go over there, a group from Congress? They'll see what Saddam wants them to see and only that. They will, he said, be used.

But not everyone on Capitol Hill, Judy, feels that way. Not all are so cold to the idea. Democrat Representative Dennis Kucinich said today that, he held this briefing that you see here today, to talk about Iraq and talk about his views on the situation there. He and others on this panel say that no war against Iraq should happen. They say that it is unnecessary.

Former U.N. weapons inspector Scotty Ritter was among the panelists who warned that starting a war based on what he called rumors, that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, simply inconceivable. Congressman Kucinich says he is open to the idea of a congressional delegation getting involved if it would mean stopping a war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: People have to talk to one another. We cannot pretend that we are going to step aside, and let these war forces move toward some expression. We have an obligation to the American people. We are called -- we could be called upon to send the sons and daughters of Americans to fight and possibly to their deaths in a war. Shouldn't we take some steps in the other direction so that war isn't inevitable? I think we have an obligation to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SNOW: And Kucinich says that with some caveats, Judy, that he would only support a congressional delegation if it was bipartisan, if they had complete and full access in Iraq and most importantly if they were allowed to be accompanied by weapons inspectors, experts, Judy. That's what he's saying but many up there on Capitol Hill saying that's a scenario that's just simply unlikely -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And particularly given White House view of all this. All right, Kate, thanks.

Meantime House Majority Whip Tom Delay plans to give a major address in Texas tomorrow encouraging the White House to take a more aggressive approach toward Iraq. In an excerpt of the speech that was released today, Delay says quote, defeating Iraq is far from a diversion in the war on terror. Defeating Saddam Hussein is a defining measure of whether we will wage the war on terrorism fully and effectively. Only regime change can remove the danger from Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. Delay will be a guest tomorrow here on "Inside Politics." We'll ask him about that speech and we'll ask him about House Majority Leader Dick Armey's concerns about an unprovoked attack against Iraq.

With me now, Stan Bedlington, formerly with the CIA counterterrorism center. Mr. Bedlington, first of all, this report from Iraq that Abu Nidal, the noted terrorist, notorious terrorist, committed suicide and yet there are multiple gunshot wounds in the body. What's going on here? Does any of this make sense?

STAN BEDLINGTON, CIA COUNTERTERRORISM CTR: Well, first of all, I don't think it was possible of him to have committed suicide. You can't shoot yourself several times and say it is committing suicide. The second thing is you can't really believe a word the Iraqis say. I would need so much more information about this case before saying categorically that Abu Nidal is dead. There have been a number of reports in the past saying that he's dead and, lo and behold, he is still alive.

WOODRUFF: Well, is there any way to get independent information? The U.S., we understand has so little intelligence inside -- human intelligence inside Iraq. How does the U.S. separately verify.

BEDLINGTON: I think we have to go through Palestinian sources. It's the only way we can find out for sure whether or not the man is still alive. If he is dead, it will be the best news we've had on the terrorist front for a long, long time.

WOODRUFF: What about the plausibility of the Iraqi story of what happened, that he was in Baghdad, that they discovered he was working with anti-Iraq opposition forces, forces working against the Saddam Hussein government. Does any of that make sense given his background?

BEDLINGTON: No, it doesn't makes any sense whatsoever. The Iraqis, one source from the Iraqi government said that he was working with the Kuwaitis, which once again simply does not make sense given Abu Nidal's background.

WOODRUFF: Sounds like you're skeptical of this.

BEDLINGTON: I'm highly skeptical. Abu Nidal (UNINTELLIGIBLE) his true name has been working with Iraq since he first split away from the PLO which was way back in 1974. So he has a long history of working very closely with the Iraqi regime.

WOODRUFF: What would be plausible? Why would Abu Nidal have been in Baghdad at all in your opinion?

BEDLINGTON: Well, you know, he's moved around from place to place because people keep throwing him out. After his organization was largely dismantled in the early 90s, the last terrorist attack by Abu Nidal was in January of 1994, as I recall, he first moved to Syria, then he moved to Libya, where the Libyans supported him for some years and then he moved to Iraq. That's where he was moved to Iraq in 1998. They gave him shelter.

WOODRUFF: But at this point there's nothing that you're aware of that would explain why he was there or what he might have been working on.

BEDLINGTON: No, I have no explanation for that whatsoever. He more or less retired in a sense. He's sort of history, you know. That's the way I look upon him as not being an active player, not for some years.

WOODRUFF: And if he is dead, if it turns out he is dead, what does that represent? What does that mean?

BEDLINGTON: Well, I think we have to look at who possibly could have killed him, what motivations there were and I think the group that has the most serious motivation would be the Palestinians. And Abu Nidal has been responsible for killing certainly two of Arafat's closest subordinates at Tunis some years ago. So there is a possibility of revenge.

WOODRUFF: Stan Bedlington, former CIA counterterrorism expert. Thank you very much. Good to see you again.

BEDLINGTON: Thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: When we return, we will discuss Democrats, Cynthia McKinney's battle for political survival in the House. And we'll tell you why the Secretary of State is launching an investigation.

Also ahead, is this a fair picture? James Carville and Tucker Carlson will debate the high profile way that some CEOs have been arrested. Plus, Barbra Streisand and politics. Is she the new comeback kid?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Before we turn to politics, there have been some developments in the government's investigation into the collapse of Enron. Joining me now, CNN's justice correspondent, Kelli Arena -- Kelli.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, according to sources close to the investigation, former Enron executive Michael Copper has agreed to please guilty as soon as tomorrow. These are the first criminal charges filed in the Enron case. Copper was, he managed partnerships for former Enron Chief Financial Officer Andrew Fastow and we called the Justice Department. They have no comment on this development and we have called his representative as well and have not been able to receive any comment. But as you know, there's been a great deal of criticism launched at the White House, at the Justice Department for failure to bring any criminal charges in this case, charges of political obstruction and so on. So this does quite a bit toward gaining credibility and reputation back.

WOODRUFF: The criticism coming at a time in the case of WorldCom...

ARENA: Exactly.

WOODRUFF: ... in the case of Adelphia and these other companies. Enron, there had not been any charges. These are the first ones.

ARENA: That's right. These are the first. As we're told as soon as tomorrow he could plead guilty.

WOODRUFF: And, again, his name is?

ARENA: Is Michael Kopper.

WOODRUFF: Michael Kopper.

All right, thank you very much, Kelli. Appreciate it.

ARENA: You're welcome.

WOODRUFF: Well, now we are going to switch gears to today's competitive and combative Georgia primary. In one of the marquee races, two veteran Republican congressmen are battling for a single House seat in a newly carved Atlanta-area district.

CNN's Brian Cabell reports on Bob Barr vs. John Linder.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four-term Congressman Bob Barr is a conservative Republican. Five-term Congressman John Linder is a conservative Republican. But that's where the similarities end between these two pretty opponents.

REP. JOHN LINDER (R), GEORGIA: He is on TV more. In fact, we have done some studies and found out he has been on TV in this Congress twice as often as he's been on the floor of the House.

CABELL: That may be an exaggeration, but his point is, the feisty, outspoken Barr is a favorite of the TV political shows and has been ever since he helped lead the fight to impeach President Clinton.

REP. BOB BARR (R), GEORGIA: We get a lot of media opportunities that we turn down. Those that I do take are those that deal with issues that I am involved in, that I have some background in.

CABELL: Barr, a former federal prosecutor, focuses on the conservatives' hot-button issues: opposition to abortion and gun control and support for a strong national defense and a tough anti- drug policy.

Linder, a soft-spoken, amiable former dentist and businessman has avoided the spotlight. He aspires to be chairman of the powerful, but mostly anonymous House Rules Committee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

NARRATOR: Since 1993, he has producing real results for us in Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABELL: He has worked effectively behind the scenes, he says, to promote the conservative cause, the social issues, yes, but even more so the economic ones.

LINDER: I want a world in which you and your neighbors are voluntary taxpayers.

CABELL: He's pushing a national sales tax. He wants to abolish the IRS. All that is fine, says Barr. But he claims Linder has been a backbencher in Congress, not a leader.

BARR: What Mr. Linder has done is what many, many folks do when they go up there. And that is, they vote right, but they stay away from the controversy. They stay in the background. They don't define the agenda. They basically follow the agenda.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

CHARLTON HESTON, ACTOR: He take the hits and still stands proud.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABELL: Barr's pitch is that he is a leader, bold and unafraid. Charlton Heston supports him. So does Kenneth Starr.

MERLE BLACK, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Barr has a national basis of appeal. He's almost like a Jesse Helms in terms of being someone so committed and so visible on issues that he can draw money from all parts of the United States.

CABELL: He raised twice as much money as Linder. This high- stakes race recently took a somewhat bizarre twist when a man dressed up as Yosemite Sam showed up at a Barr rally and scuffled with Barr's son. The man had been mocking Barr for an earlier incident in which a gun went off as it was handed to Barr.

(on camera): The latest poll shows Barr with a narrow three- point lead. And with the margin of error, that is a toss-up, which means that turnout will likely be the determining factor.

(voice-over): Barr is convinced his hard-core, true-believer supporters will show up no matter what. Linder is hoping for a heavier turnout of the mainstream establishment Republicans and perhaps crossover Democrats eager to send Barr into early retirement.

Brian Cabell, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And in recent days, there's been talk of crossover votes from Georgia Republicans who want to oust 4th District Democrat incumbent Cynthia McKinney in favor of challenger Denise Majette. Yesterday, some district residents received an automated phone call. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an official notice for Republican voters. It is a violation of state and federal law to attempt to vote in a Democratic primary without proper documentation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: That phone message is false. Crossover votes are in fact legal in Georgia. The McKinney campaign denied any knowledge of the recording. And several hours ago, the Georgia secretary of state opened an inquiry into who was behind the calls.

Also today, former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young said that McKinney is reusing an endorsement that he gave her in a past election. He says that he did not endorse anyone in this year's race.

Well, when it comes to political ads, conventional wisdom went out the window in that 4th Congressional District.

With me now is CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider -- hi, Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Judy.

You know, when you challenge a House incumbent, you are supposed to make the race a referendum on the incumbent and you are supposed to go on the attack. But those rules are not being followed in today's hotly contested Democratic primary in Georgia's 4th Congressional District.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): Georgia Today: Cynthia McKinney, an African- American incumbent with pro-Palestinian sympathies, faces Denise Majette, an African-American challenger strongly backed by pro-Israel interests. In Georgia, it is the incumbent who went on the attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MCKINNEY CAMPAIGN AD)

NARRATOR: Abuse of power: Sometimes it's an angry, out-of- control cop beating up a teenager in California. And sometimes it's an angry, out-of-control judge right here in Georgia, a judge like Denise Majette.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: McKinney's campaign has nothing to do with the Middle East. It has to do with race. In this black-majority district, the incumbent is rallying her African-American base against the black challenger. How?

By touting her own civil rights credentials in this ad, for instance, about an effort to keep blacks from voting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MCKINNEY CAMPAIGN AD) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You all go home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We called Cynthia McKinney and she was here within minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She worked with the authorities and got the doors open, so everyone could vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Message: McKinney is with you.

In this ad, she criticizes her opponent's insensitivity to people's rights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MCKINNEY CAMPAIGN AD)

NARRATOR: ... to cover up mistakes she made in trials that deprived innocent people of their rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Message: She's with them.

Later in the add.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MCKINNEY CAMPAIGN AD)

NARRATOR: You can't trust Denise Majette. She's already sold us out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Majette has chosen not to run an inflammatory campaign against McKinney. Oh, sure, she's defended herself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MAJETTE CAMPAIGN AD)

NARRATOR: Now Cynthia McKinney says Denise Majette is against affirmative action. Denise Majette supports affirmative action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Congresswoman McKinney is an intensely controversial figure. She outrages and divides people, us vs. them. Majette's message: We're all in this together.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MAJETTE CAMPAIGN AD)

NARRATOR: In Congress, Denise Majette will work to bring people together, because, together, we can accomplish anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER: Majette is inviting voters to make a statement against the politics of division. So, the challenger is relying on the incumbent, more or less, to defeat herself. Now, is that strategy naive or is it shrewd? We'll find out tonight -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Thank you, Bill.

And for more now on those Georgia party primaries, let's head to Atlanta and join syndicated columnist Matt Towery. He's with InsiderAdvantage.com.

Let's go back to Brian Cabell's comment, if you will. He said a minute ago that turnout is going to be the determining factor in this contest. What are you hearing today? What is the turnout looking like?

MATT TOWERY, INSIDERADVANTAGE.COM: Well, interestingly, turnout will decide both of these races that you're talking about.

First, in the Barr-Linder race, we're seeing a tremendous turnout in that area, in both areas, where Linder is strong, which is to the east of the city, and then also to the West of the city where Barr is strong, tremendous turnout, where the rest of the state, the primary is fairly dull and not attracting a lot of voters.

In the Cynthia McKinney race against Majette, we're seeing that crossover vote take place, the very crossover vote that was discussed earlier. It is taking place in a tremendous number of votes. We're seeing in some of the primaries that are traditionally Republican, 91 percent of the people voting in those primaries are picking up a Democratic ballot.

WOODRUFF: And there's no question, Matt, that that is legal.

TOWERY: Oh, yes, certainly it's legal. And the telephone calls which were made last night, although amusing and certainly also irritating and probably illegal, had absolutely no effect today.

Does that mean Ms. Majette will defeat Ms. McKinney? That question remains more an issue in the African-American community. Ms. Majette, most polls show, has to get around 25-35 percent of the vote in the African-American community for that crossover vote among Republicans to matter.

WOODRUFF: So, there's no question in your mind that any crossover Republican vote is going to go for Denise Majette?

TOWERY: Oh, very little question. In fact, Judy, most of the state of Georgia is seeing very little turnout. So my guess is, in those areas where you're seeing the turnout in Republican primaries, places that normally vote Republican, you're seeing very motivated voters indeed. And they're turning out for one reason and picking up a Democratic ballot.

WOODRUFF: And let me quickly turn you to the Barr-Linder race. Who had the edge going into this contest? We heard Barr was ahead by just a couple points, but what were you hearing?

TOWERY: Well, it is interesting.

We did a poll with a group that also polls for "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" on other occasions. The poll which they conducted three weeks ago showed Linder ahead. What happened in this case is that the race became superheated. John Linder, who is normally quiet, began to engage Bob Barr. The two got into quite a tussle. You saw an example in Bill Schneider's report. And the race became so superheated that you have a tremendous turnout today.

That race will be very, very close. Their styles are completely different. The district is little more sophisticated perhaps than Bob Barr might have guessed originally. But Bob Barr has managed to motivate his voters, who tend to make sure their ultraconservative spokesman is on television speaking not just about issues, but also, hopefully, on their part, speaking in Congress.

Now, Linder certainly has a long-standing traditional Republican support group. And they're turning out in droves today as well.

WOODRUFF: All right, syndicated columnist Matt Towery of InsiderAdvantage.com, thanks very much. Good to see you. And perhaps we'll see again. Maybe all this interest in these Georgia races means there will be a lot of interest in the fall. Thanks very much.

More inside views of al Qaeda: exclusive video of Osama bin Laden's declaration of war against the West ahead in our "Newscycle."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Who could convince Barbra Streisand to end her retirement from the concert stage? Well, try House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. Streisand will perform at a September 29 fund-raiser in Los Angeles for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Streisand sang at fund-raisers for Bill Clinton and Al Gore. But, as far as we know, it is the first time she has performed to raise cash for House Democrats. The DCCC hopes to raise $4 million at this event, which will also feature a performance by Barry Manilow.

And now we're joined by "CROSSFIRE" co-hosts James Carville and Tucker Carlson.

Gentlemen, a story first -- we heard about it yesterday. Today, there's a bit of a follow-up -- a report that the National Education Association, the teacher's union, had issued a report, a suggestion to teachers across the country that they not place any blame, that they not say that any one group is responsible for 9/11, the 9/11 terror attacks.

And let me just quote quickly from it -- quote -- "Blaming is especially difficult in terrorist situations because someone is at fault. In this country, we still believe all people are innocent until solid, reliable evidence from our legal authorities proves otherwise."

Now, today, the American Federation of Teachers, the rival teachers union, is saying they think that is inappropriate.

Who is right, James?

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": How the hell do I know?

(LAUGHTER)

CARVILLE: The NEA says that there were 100 different things that they put out. One of the people handed me something that said they were misquoted and taken out of context.

The truth of the matter is, September 11 is coming up. We shouldn't be trying to politicize it. We ought to be teaching people that there's nothing wrong with the Islamic faith. There is something wrong with the people who knocked these buildings down. And we're correct to fight a war with them. We're correct to go out and seek them out, but I don't think that they represent Islam. And I think we ought the blame the people that did it, not people who adhere to one of the world's great religions.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, actually, it turns out blaming isn't hard at all for the NEA, because the guideline suggested blaming the United States. They went on to say this is a perfect opportunity to talk about the internment of Japanese-Americans during the 1940s, etcetera.

So, here you a day on which religious fanatics killed 3,000 Americans and you commemorate it by talking about American intolerance. You would really have to be a member of a teachers union to think that was a good idea. It is totally outrageous. And I think it shows instinctive dislike, distrust, maybe even hatred of the United States.

CARVILLE: I think it is ludicrous. I think ignorance doesn't make you a better patriot. I think knowledge makes you a better patriot. And I think that we clearly have instances in our history where we have had intolerance.

I think that we ought to know about that. There are instances of my own family where people have done things wrong. I still love them. I still love my country. But I know we had segregation. I know we had slavery. And I know we interned the Japanese. And I still love my country. And I don't have to be ignorant to be a good American.

WOODRUFF: Different story, also touching on our system of justice, and that is complaints that these so-called perp walks, where we have seen paraded people who have been accused of corporate misconduct, been paraded in front of the cameras. We recently saw officials from WorldCom and Adelphia. Now the ACLU is complaining -- quote -- "Such a practice seems plainly unjustified and unconstitutional."

Is that right, Tucker?

CARLSON: Oh, of course it is. I don't think I've ever covered, written about, been around a prosecutor who didn't have political aspirations. They all do. And it leads them to do things like this. Rudy Giuliani did it when he was as federal prosecutor.

You had the 78-year-old head of Adelphia, John Rigas, who apparently offers to turn himself in. Instead, he's paraded in front of the cameras in handcuffs, as if a 78-year-old needs to be handcuffed. Yes, I think it is appalling. Even when the Bush Justice Department does it, I think it is totally wrong. And good for the ACLU for pointing that out.

CARVILLE: Why would anybody be surprised that the greatest political hack in the history of American justice, Michael Chertoff, is the No. 2 in the Justice Department? He did nothing but leak and try to do everything that he could. He was the chief counsel for the now infamous D'Amato committee, which was one of the great wastes of money in American history.

And he was just a Hillary hater. And he's up there doing the same thing in the Justice Department he was doing on the Hill. Why is anybody surprised by this?

CARLSON: You know, I'd love to rebut James's point, but I have no idea what he's talking about, actually.

CARVILLE: Other people know what I'm talking about.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: OK, all four of them. OK.

WOODRUFF: Oh, my goodness. Time to call it quits here. We can't wait to see you guys next week.

Tucker, James, thank you both.

CARLSON: We'll be there.

WOODRUFF: And we'll see you tonight at 7:00 Eastern.

CARLSON: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: The view from inside Iraq is coming up next: As Saddam Hussein faces the possibility of a U.S. attack, we'll get a live report on what some top Iraqi officials are saying.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: A 1998 video obtained by CNN shows Osama bin Laden declaring war against America and the West. The exclusive video is among a collection of tapes found in an Afghan house where bin Laden once stayed.

Now we return to the latest saber-rattling from Iraq. As we reported earlier, a senior Iraqi official said today that it would be -- quote -- "foolish" for Baghdad to allow U.N. weapons inspections to resume. And he had some harsh words about President Bush.

That report from CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan. He's with us from now Baghdad.

Eason, what exactly did this Iraqi official say about allowing those U.N. weapons inspections to go forward?

JORDAN: Well, Judy, I should say I have actually met with half- a-dozen Iraqi government ministers over the past three days here in the Iraqi capital. And the message, for the most part, is the same from each of these officials.

Some have spoken with me on an on-the-record basis, others on an- off-the-record basis, and some on a basis where they would agree only to be identified as a senior Iraqi official. And the most important of those meetings came today. And what this official said was very, very harsh, very harsh rhetoric directed against the United States. As you said, this official said it would be foolish for Iraq to allow the U.N. arms inspections to resume, but very specific references to President Bush, calling him, at one point, an idiot, and saying that he is trying to lead the United States on a reckless adventure.

This official went on to say, Judy, that: "We, Iraq, would appreciate it if the U.S. would invade on the ground, because then we can have a fair fight." And he said Iraq would be victorious in that battle -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Eason, do you have a sense of how much of what they're saying is intended to send a message to the administration and how much of this is policy that they intend to stick with?

JORDAN: Well, there's an important message that was actually behind the headlines a bit in the meeting with the official today.

The official said the only way that arms inspections can resume in Iraq is if the U.S. Congress sends a U.S. congressional delegation made up of inspectors as part of the delegation to come to Iraq for a few weeks, for a few week of inspections, to try to get this whole thing over with and end the sanctions. Now, Washington has repeatedly rejected that. But Iraq is very serious about it.

And Iraq is awaiting an official response and not just informal responses from U.S. officials. But the government here, all the officials I speak with, anticipate a U.S. attack. They take President Bush at his word when he says he intends to change the regime here. So the people here just wait. They've been in a state of war for nearly 20 years, with the Iran-Iraq war, then the Gulf War. Then we had the no-fly zones. And just today, there was an incident in Southern Iraq.

So, Iraq feels that it has been at war for 20 years and is ready for the big war with the United States.

WOODRUFF: And, finally, Eason, how do they say they believe they would survive or would they survive, the leadership of that government, in a U.S. attack?

JORDAN: Well, what they say is, yes, the leadership here would survive, that the U.S. is in for a fight like it's never seen on the ground here in Iraq, if indeed that fight comes to the Iraqi capital.

Certainly, a number of officials have echoed that, although one or two, in very candid moments, have said maybe it is a 50/50 chance that Iraq would actually survive that battle with the United States. But there's a lot of bravado, a lot of bluster, and a lot of tough talk about egging on the United States, basically saying: "Bring it on. Let's go ahead and have our ground war and get it over with."

WOODRUFF: All right, thank you, Eason.

Eason Jordan is a chief CNN news executive, who, as you have heard, has been in Baghdad for several days meeting with top Iraqi officials.

Thanks again, Eason.

Ahead here: big-name help for a Tennessee Republican who is starring in a new ad for Lamar Alexander and is coming to Tennessee to help him raise cash.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": Lamar Alexander is calling on the biggest names in the GOP to assist his campaign for the Senate. A new ad for Alexander is up and running. It features the man Alexander hopes to succeed, Senator Fred Thompson. Next month, President Bush is expected to attend an Alexander fund-raiser in Nashville. Just a day later, the president's father, the nation's 41st president, will campaign with Alexander in Knoxville.

Meantime, the race for Maryland governor continues to tighten. According to a new poll, Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend leads Republican Robert Ehrlich 47 percent to 43 percent among likely voters. Five weeks ago, Townsend held a seven-point lead over Ehrlich.

Well, I will be back in just a moment, but now let's take a look at what is coming up on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" -- hi, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": Hi, Judy.

In a moment, the CNN exclusive: Osama bin Laden's coming-out party. Watch the never-before-seen pictures of the day he declared war on the United States. And learn what these tapes tell us about his security. Also: embassy stormed. What happened to hostage-takers who wanted to take on Saddam Hussein? We'll go live to the scene. And a judge makes a ruling about a popular antidepressant.

Those stories, much more at the top of the hour, right after INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We have already told you today about Georgia. Well, in addition, voters in Wyoming are at the polls today holding primaries for several offices, including governor. Among the GOP candidates: Steve Watt, who says one of his first orders of business will be to pardon Mark Farnham. Watt was a highway patrolman two decades ago when he stopped Farnham, who was fleeing a bank robbery. Farnham shot Watt multiple times, but Watt has since forgiven him. The two men say they are now friends. And Watt says he would trust Farnham with his wife and children. That's a story.

A quick reminder about our guests tomorrow on INSIDE POLITICS: House Minority Leader Tom DeLay will join us from Houston. And something you won't want to miss: on the day that the first federal charges are filed against one Enron executive, the six degrees of Ken Lay. That's tomorrow.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" is next.

Thank you for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.

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